Small but deadly: Female Muay Thai coach trains women cheated out of love and money

Standing at 156 centimetres with a petite frame, it would be easy to think Vivian Chan is meek, but do not make that mistake. This girl can pack a punch.

The 24-year-old is the co-owner and instructor at women-only Muay Thai gym, Encore, located on the second level of a quaint shophouse in Katong.

"When guys come in for their first lesson would be they would be like, 'Oh you're the instructor for today' and scan me up and down," said Vivian.

"I proved their first impressions wrong when I did my drills with them and am able to hold their kicks."

Her late uncle brought her to her first Muay Thai class when she was 17, because he did not want her to be held back by her small size. She hasn't looked back since.

After years of participating in competitions, Vivian got injured and stopped fighting competitively.

That's when she decided to start coaching to pass on the knowledge and skills she had garnered.

Encore started off as a mixed gym for both men and women but Vivian discovered something after getting closer to her students: Several of them have been victims of being cheated out of love and money by men.

Vivian would get closer to her students through training and gatherings at the gym so her students grew comfortable enough to talk and confide in her about their problems.

Although Vivian herself has never been a victim of a scam, her heart went out to her students.

"It's actually very common," explains Vivian.

"One guy cheated my friend out of love and money at the same time.

"He would say things like, 'If you love me, you will help me financially to get through this hurdle.

"Another was constantly harassed by a guy who threatened her family and wanted to destroy her reputation at the workplace.

"It's very traumatising."

After hearing these stories, Vivian decided to convert Encore to an all-female gym.

She wanted to create a safe place for women to build them up, physically emotionally and mentally.

Vivian continued:

"Some women may prefer to train only with women because they might have lower self-esteem and they feel more comfortable with girls.

"My girls are actually very confident right now.

"Some came in very quiet but can now conduct the warm-up and cool-down exercises on their own.

"They have opened up and speak up a lot more which is very good to see."

When Vivian isn't teaching Muay Thai, she will be seeing to patients at her own sports clinic, Pain Relief Singapore, located right next to the gym.

After studying Sports Science at Edith Cowan University, Vivian wanted to combine Chinese and Western techniques to help people with their injuries and pain.

When commenting on how accomplished she is to be running two businesses at such a young age, she said:

"Muay Thai is my passion. Helping people with their pain is also my passion. So, I'm really not working, it's very fun!"

Encore charges $260 a month for unlimited classes.

"It is a bit pricey but because there is a maximum of 8 people per class, it's like personal training," explains Vivian.

"Other gyms have over 10 people per class and the coaches don't even get to talk to you."

Another pro about her all-female gym? Cleanliness.

"Did you notice it smells a lot nicer than other gyms when you step in?" she asked cheekily.

Watch Vivian in action and demonstrating self-defence moves for women in the videos below.